Scanners, scanning, and disappearing paper [TUPdate]

Inertia simultaneously saves and disrupts technological transformation. Scanners and printers with integrated scanners have been at the heart of the paper to digital change. So much that was paper is now electronic. The “paperless office” has been a hyped cliché for decades, and yet is truer with each passing year. Although electronic signatures have been legal for over 20 years in most countries, and digital copies are increasingly acceptable in many cases, the migration from paper to electronic lumbers along gradually. Consumers and businesses alike continue to need to convert hardcopy documents and images into electronic form.

Standalone Scanners Subsiding

Scanning is still alive, although standalone scanners are only being used by a relative few.

The regular use of a standalone scanner has sagged across a range of countries, as we found in research results from the MetaFacts TUP/Technology User Profile survey. Our TUP 2019 survey of 11,625 respondents in the US, Germany, and China show that only a small percent of online adults use a standalone scanner.

There are a range of standalone scanners available, as distinct from the scanners included in MFP (Multi-Function Printers).  Standalone scanners with ADFs (automatic document feeders) are well-suited to converting large batches of documents into a digital form, either for archiving or for wider use in a new electronic form. Flatbed scanners are useful for incidental scanning. Specialized scanners, such as business card scanners, are also useful for specific tasks. All these types of standalone scanners are included within these numbers, reflecting their niche use.

Standalone neither young nor old

Younger generations, many referred to as digital natives, have not embraced standalone scanners. Neither are older adults the major users of paper scanners. The share of age 18-24 and 25-34 are effectively the same as among age 55-64 and 65 and older.

What the young do

Younger Americans – especially age 25-34 – have a unique scanning profile. As compared to any other age group, they are above average in using standalone scanners to scan personal documents, personal photographs, work documents, and work photographs. Americans age 55+ stand out in being well above average in scanning personal documents. These older are adults are also well below average in scanning personal photographs and work documents or photographs.

Difference of One or Many among Young and Old

Older Americans that use standalone scanners use flatbed one-document-at-a-time scanners at a much higher rate than younger Americans. While 78% of American scanner users age 65+ use a flatbed scanner, only 26% of adults age 18-24 do so. Instead, a higher share of younger adults use a multi-document scanner, with 61% of standalone scanners age 18-24 using one and 54% of age 25-34. Neither younger nor older Americans are primarily using a portable/business card scanner. Among these least-used devices, there’s a slightly younger skew.

More ways than one

Many online adults use computer printers for scanning, choosing either those with single-sheet platens or automatic document feeders (ADF).

Use of printers for scanning is more widespread than use of standalone scanners. Roughly ten times as many adults regularly use their primary printer for scanning as use a standalone printer. The percent of online adults in the US is 36%, 35% in China, and 46% in Germany. These rates are down somewhat from 2015 through 2019 in the many countries we surveyed.

Printer scanning for elders

When using a computer printer to scan, a much higher share of scanning is among older than younger Americans. Half (50%) of online Americans age 65 and higher use their primary printer to scan photos or documents. Among online Americans age 54 and younger, only 35% or fewer regularly use a printer to scan.

One at a time

Over three-fourths (78%) of Americans who scan using a printer only scan one document at a time. Almost half of that number, 37%, only scan multiple items using an automated document feeder. Another half of that number, 16%, regularly do both.

Looking ahead

The silent substitute competition for scanners is near at hand – smartphones. Although arguably smartphones don’t handle the highest demands for scanning, they’re more than adequate for many purposes. Archiving large batches of documents or photographs will continue to be a job for high-end standalone scanners. To take a quick scan of a document, though, to share with others, is well within the capability of nearly every smartphone, and that’s even before the use of specialized scanning or deskewing apps. Add smartphone apps like Microsoft Lens, CamScanner, or the many others that include OCR (optical character recognition) and most needs are covered well enough.

Yet another substitute for scanning is also silent – paperless statements. The majority of banks, brokerages, creditors, utilities, and other suppliers continue to encourage their customers to move from paper to electronic statements. Also, tax and other governmental authorities are increasingly digital, both sending and receiving documents electronically. This reduces the demand for customers to scan paper documents that they can simply download and send to whoever needs a copy.

These trends don’t mean that scanning will completely go away. In fact, most of the decline has already happened for scanner use and scanning with printers. These devices and activities have dropped to the realm of being a niche and are likely to remain so.

About this TUPdate

The analysis in this TUPdate is based on results drawn from multiple waves of TUP (Technology User Profile), including the 2019 edition which is TUP’s 37th continuous wave. This survey-based study details the use of technology products by a carefully-selected and weighted set of respondents drawn to represent online adults.

Resources
Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Do millennials use more or fewer printers than others? (MetaFAQs)

There’s a broad misconception that younger adults aren’t printing as much as the pioneers who’ve gone before them. That could be a negative sign for the future of major printer manufacturers from HP and Epson to Brother, Lexmark, Dell and Canon.

Do millennials use more or fewer printers than others?

Our research shows that millennial adults (age 28-35) use more printers than the average connected adult.metafacts-metafaqs-mq0011-2016-10-31_09-29-55

On average, they regularly use 1.8 printers, the most used by any age group. Furthermore, just over half (51%) use 2 or more printers.

This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.

As we’ve reported in other TUP findings, millennials are resourceful in using many devices at home, their workplaces, and also owned by others.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active technology users.

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapters with the most information about activities is the TUP 2016 Printers Chapter.

These MetaFAQs are brought to you by MetaFacts, based on research results from their most-recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP).

For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

More Images – Less Paper (TUPdate)

More images — less paper – a MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, October 14, 2016

I love photos of kittens. And puppies. And rainbows. And yes, I’m enjoy seeing photos of your desserts, grandkids and glorious travels. Okay, now I’ve said it out loud.dessert-2016-10-14_12-00-04

Evidently, I’m similar to nearly half of every other American adult when it comes to admiring beautiful, fun, and engaging photos. I admit this even as I assiduously avoid counting myself as being representative of any entire market. As a long-time researcher, I choose to share my findings and opinions about tech customer demand and market dynamics based on the voices of thousands of survey respondents.

There’s something connecting and real about sharing photos. More than half (56%) of adults with a connected device share photos online and almost half (47%) share in person. Images tell a story, share feelings and experiences, and connect us. The use of digital images has grown explosively to be central to the everyday connected life.metafacts-tupan16-photos-with-any-device-2016-10-14_12-01-32

Those images aren’t coming from traditional cameras, though. For the majority that seeks convenience, having one device do something passably well is better than carrying many specialized gadgets. Purists can argue about superior photo quality taken with a camera intended to be a real camera. That misses the point for most of the market. Having any camera handy at that special moment is better than having the perfect camera after it’s over.

Smartphones have been fueling much of the photo explosion, being the choice for over two-thirds (69%) of connected adults. Tablets haven’t contributed as much to the photo stream – with only one-sixth (17%) of adults regularly using one to take photos. In many circles, bringing out a tablet to take photos is considered a bit invasive, impolite or a little too geeky. This sort of social friction is par for the course among early adopters.

Despite the expanding breadth of photo-taking, overall printer penetration isn’t growing. The number of printers in active use hasn’t budged materially in years. Our MetaFacts TUP 2013 survey found that 12% of connected adults didn’t use a printer. As of TUP 2016, 13% still don’t actively use a printer. You might think that statistic would shift among the busiest printer users. However, that’s been stable, too. Adults printing 50 or more pages per month were 29% of connected adults in 2011 and are near to the same size five years later, representing 27% in 2016.metafacts-tupan16-printing-activities-among-most-graphical-2016-10-14_12-02-20

To profile the most-attractive printer users, I explored three dimensions with a deeper dive into the TUP datasets.

  • High-Volume: The busiest users – those who print the most pages
  • Most-Graphical: The strongest relevant demand – the most-graphical users as evidenced by being in the top third of users in the number of graphics and image-oriented activities they regularly do with their collection of connected devices
  • Mobile Printing: Those who print on the go, using their mobile device to wirelessly print

The heaviest printers are breathing rarified air. Users who printer 50 or more pages per month are in the top 22% of Inkjet Printer users and top 33% of Laser Printer users.three-groups-2016-10-14_12-03-08

These high-volume printers skew towards users with larger, higher-income households with children. Age 25-44 are strongest, as are Employed and Self-Employed. They are more likely than average to be regularly using 2 or more printers.

Among the most-graphical users, printer penetration is higher than among average connected adults. The most-graphical are 50% more likely than average to be using a 2nd printer, and 86% more likely to be using a 3rd printer. Also, more than a third (36%) of these most-graphical print 50+ pages each month.

Also, printing photos is much more common among the most-graphical than the average user. Among these most-graphical, printing photos is the second-ranked printing activity, done occasionally by 44% of these users, well above the 33% of average users doing so. The most-graphical also have a higher penetration of printer use – 94%.

These most-graphical include a higher than average share of Millennials, making up 56% of their numbers. They are also more likely to have children, with 58% doing so.

Mobile printing has been possible for some time, although actual adoption has been relatively slow. Less than a third (31%) of those with tablets print wirelessly to a nearby printer, 17% to a remote printer using email, and 15% using an online service. Smartphone printing is lower, with one-sixth (17%) of Smartphone users printing wirelessly to a nearby printer, 11% to a remote printer using email, and 10% using an online service.

Looking ahead, we expect the major printer manufacturers to continue to focus on one, if not all, of these market segments. The convenience-oriented will be served by automated ink replacement, such as HP’s Instant Ink subscription service. Currently, less than a third (29%) of the highest-volume printer use this type of service.

Our research supports photo-taking activities continuing strongly and broadly into the future. Smartphone cameras will only get better and users will continue to be increasingly comfortable with selfies, scans, and group photos. However, this increase in demand won’t necessarily increase printing levels, at least among the overall market. I expect consumer’s need to share photos which are first printed to continue their decline, with continued innovation in social networking. Also, as a broader range of users get comfortable using their devices, more users will join the mass shift towards sharing photos on screens instead of paper. The need for archival printing of precious documents such as heirloom photos will be reduced with the further adoption of cloud file storage. In addition, the TUP research supports continued growth in the number of users finding other ways to share photos in person, with broader adoption of the connections between Smartphone and larger screens from tablets to TVs.

Yes, you too can expect to see more kittens, rainbows, food porn, and cute grandkids. We might as well get our popcorn ready!

About this TUPdate

This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on the most-recent results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2016 survey, its 34th wave, with 7,334 respondents (US). Trend information is based on prior waves. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Resources

Current TUP subscribers can tap into any of the following TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

references-2016-10-14_12-03-55

 

Are Smartphones really for fun, not communicating?

Are Smartphones really for fun, not communicating?

A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, Principal Analyst

Are Smartphone subscribers more about fun than communication? Is entertainment that much stronger for Smartphone subscribers than for users of Basic Mobile Phones? Is the lack of a boss key because mobile phone users feel freer to have fun with their handsets than their PCs?

For Smartphone users, it’s not only playing games like Angry Birds that is widespread. Activities such as listening to music, watching movies, and checking sports and weather also are prevalent.

These fun activities are much more popular on Smartphones than on Basic Mobile Phones. For most key entertainment activities, more than three times the rate of Smartphone users find ways to play than the percentage of Basic Mobile Phone users.

Entertainment Activities by Mobile Phone Type-MetaFacts

Playing Games and Listening to Music are activities for more than half of Smartphone users, and for only one-fifth or less of Basic Mobile Phone users.

High-end app developers may be amazed that any Basic Mobile Phone users find ways to use their simpler phones to have any fun at all. That might be considered a glass half-full view, with the prospect that someone eager enough to struggle with the limited games and web access on most Basic Mobile Phones may be a great candidate to switch to a smartphone. The half-empty types may see this as a reality that for many consumers, good enough is good enough. They may be satisfied with simple games for casual play, and may be less prone to upgrade their platform. In either case, this highlights that app developers, handset makers and carriers need to look at the demand across multiple platforms so they don’t miss out on market opportunity or dissatisfy important customers.

Diving a little deeper into the Technology User Profile survey responses, fun is also age-linked. The game-playing rate among age 18-34 mobile phone users is 42% versus half that (21%) among those aged 35+. Although to a great extent, Smartphones have been more strongly adopted among younger than older adults, taking age into account; Smartphone users are simply more fun-oriented than users of Basic Mobile Phones.

Fun isn’t the only driver for Smartphones; communication does rate more highly for Smartphones than for Basic Mobile Phones, with usage broadly spanning phone calls, text messages, voicemail, and email for two-thirds or more of Smartphone users. For Basic Mobile Phone users, only phone calls and text messaging are used by over half of the users.

Looking ahead, bandwidth-hogs such as multi-player games and video calls are likely to drive demand for Smartphones as well as underlying wireless networks. However, as carriers seek to optimize their spectrum and profits, data caps or throttled apps may discourage the most active subscribers. Then, these users will either revert to other devices, or app makers and service providers will find ways to further optimize precious bandwidth, likely increasing supply to satisfy the demand driven by so many consumers.

Source

The results in this TUPdate are drawn from the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Survey. In our most recent wave of Technology User Profile, we surveyed American adults about their use of mobile phones, technology attitudes, and many other behavioral and socioeconomic factors. Current TUP subscribers can access and drill down more deeply into this phenomenon using TUP Interactive Access or with their datasets.

We started this analysis by first looking at the answers from 8,175 U.S. respondents in the Technology User Profile service and then drilled down further into their profiles to get a more complete picture.

Contact MetaFacts to access the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition report, which covers the broader range of key trends. View findings in 25 pages of executive summary analysis, 200+ pages of charts and graphs, all supported by 95+ pages of detailed tables. The complete, 300+ page report is delivered to you electronically.

These editions are for the U.S. based on the 2010 wave of Technology User Profile gathered among a scrupulously selected set of representative respondents, surveyed both online and offline.

To see other research coverage of Internet products and activities  – from smartphones to feature phones, desktops to notebooks, social networking, demographics, and attitudes – see the many other questions TUP answers on www.technologyuser.com. Tech market research professionals who want a solid resource they can use immediately after industry events such as mergers, or even use prior to anticipated events, can license direct access to TUP.

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry trends and facts. These TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts helps technology marketers find and measure their best and future customers. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile (TUP) survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are a primary market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. TUP analyzes key trends and the data-rich source can be dived into more deeply for custom analysis. For more information about the syndicated research service, analysis tools, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

Beyond “Paper or Plastic?” to “Refilled, Original or Compatible?”-MetaFacts TUPdate

Beyond “Paper or Plastic?” to “Refilled, Original or Compatible?”

A MetaFacts TUPdate by Dan Ness, Principal Analyst

Ink refill usage is substantial, especially among some leading-edge market segments.

There’s an old marketing adage about giving away the razor to make it up selling razor blades. In the PC printer business, printer ink pays a lot of the bills, yet is increasingly at risk.

In our most recent wave of Technology User Profile, American adults told us they continue to prefer original ink versus compatible or refilled cartridges. However, the ink loyalty rate varies by PC printer brand and market segment. One bellwether segment is decidedly using refills or sharing photos online.

We started this analysis by first looking at the answers from 8,175 U.S. respondents in the Technology User Profile service and then drilled down further into their profiles including factors such as their printer brand, type of ink used, years of PC experience, and age. We also compared usage from our prior waves, including results from our identical surveys across nine other countries.

In U.S. homes, original is strongest. Kodak & Lexmark have the highest ink loyalty, at 81% and 79%, respectively. Eight in ten adults who use these PC printer brands as their primary printer used an original ink cartridge by the same manufacturer as the printer.

Ink Type by Printer Brand

HP’s ink loyalty rate is not the strongest, with HP ranked third. HP is maintaining its strength: its ink loyalty rate at 73% is slightly up from 70% the prior year.

These high ink loyalty rates may be satisfactory enough for some printer manufacturers, yet as consumers change their printing behaviors, and even non-printing behaviors, these rates are likely to change as well.

Use of refilled ink is highest for Dell and Brother, both with 27% of adult printer users. Due to HP’s dominant market share, the number of users of refills for HP printers is almost equal to users of refills for all other brands combined.

The refilled market is broad and diverse, so unlikely to change overnight. It it served by a diverse group – spanning drug stores such as Walgreens, franchises like Cartridge World, to a small army of entrepreneurs and do-it-yourselfers with pliers and squeeze bottles.

Direct competition is strong, although compatible inks trail refills as the least-preferred option across most brands. Use of competitive compatible inks is highest for Epson and Brother, at 19% and 18%, respectively.

Compared with many other developed countries, the U.S. has some of the most ink-loyal consumers. Our prior wave of Technology User Profile across key countries revealed that ink loyalty rates are strongest in Japan and the US and weakest in Germany and the UK, and that use of refills is highest in South Korea and Germany.

Home Photo Printing – Ink & Options

Looking ahead, the ink business continues to face challenges both from within the printer and ink industry as well as from substitutes.

Printer manufacturers hoping to reclaim refill customers face an uphill battle beyond pricing, since a higher rate of refill users share photos online and a lower rate print photos. Adults who use refills have higher rates of using online photo-sharing services, sharing images across a social network, sharing on their own websites or blogs, and sharing folders online through a cloud storage service. They are an attractive segment, though, because when they print, they print at higher volumes.

To the extent that younger users are bellwether of future buyers, it’s important to note that younger adults use refills at a higher rate than older adults.

Looking further ahead, increased online collaboration is expected to continue the erosion of home-printing photos. Of the 70.9 million adults with a home printer which they don’t use to print photos, most of their sharing is done online. The greatest upside is likely to come from the broad general increase in images from user’s own smartphones, feature phones and cameras, as well as the many photos they receive online from friends and others.

Source

The results in this TUPdate are drawn from the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Survey. Results specific to this topic can be obtained through a customized report and analysis. Or contact MetaFacts for the MetaFacts Technology User Profile Overview Edition report, which covers the broader range of key trends. View findings in 25 pages of executive summary analysis, 200+ pages of charts and graphs, all supported by 95+ pages of detailed tables. The complete, 300+ page report is delivered to you electronically. This edition is for the U.S. based on the 2010 wave of Technology User Profile gathered among a scrupulously selected set of representative respondents, surveyed both online and offline.

To see other research coverage of Internet products and activities – from smartphones to feature phones, desktops to notebooks, social networking, demographics, and attitudes – see the many other questions TUP answers on www.technologyuser.com. Tech market research professionals who want a solid resource they can use immediately after industry events such as mergers, or even use prior to anticipated events, can license direct access to TUP.

About TUPdates

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Smartphones, Netbooks, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry trends and facts. These TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at https://metafacts.com/contact-metafacts/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile (TUP) survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are a primary market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. TUP analyzes key trends and the data-rich source can be dived into more deeply for custom analysis. For more information about the syndicated research service, analysis tools, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.